Sunday, May 21, 2006

Please, NO PICTURES!!!!!

Over the last few days there have been several instances where I have had my picture taken or viewed pictures of myself and I will tell you I have been LESS THAN PLEASED with what I have seen. So, at this time when I am grumbling and fretting over this I get an Invitation to go for a "Girl's Weekend" at Myrtle Beach. Oh yeah ...Not to mention that BIG 4-0 is lurking right around the corner ...CAN THINGS GET WORSE??? I am not someone who has that one downfall food. I don't particularly like fried food. I don't eat tons of sweets. Not a huge junk food eater. I just LOVE FOOD!!! My love of food and cooking is definitely getting the best of me. I have contemplated the plans where you get the prepackaged meals but then, not only would I be miserable because I can't EAT what I want, I would be doubly miserable because I could not COOK.
OK,OK I have done this before.I am a weight-loss EXPERT! Really, I have lost TONS of weight....It just keeps finding me and bringing friends back from where ever I lost it too. A few years ago I lost about 40lbs. I did it by eating TONS of veggies in a rainbow of colors. Fish at least a couple of times a week and practicing good portion control in everything else. I did not cut OUT a single thing and I let myself have at least a small portion of anything I wanted. OH YEAH ..And I exercised my butt off. So, my first goal is too lose 10lbs by my beach trip next month. I figure I have a little over 3 weeks(26 days to be exact). Not a cake walk (ohhh cake) but definitely doable!
So, hopefully my posts will reflect my goals and give me incentive to come up with interesting meals that are healthy. It's so easy to slip into that rut of eating salad all the time because it's easy. I know from experience that doing that is a surefire way to bore me off track and right into a dish of Stuffed shells with 4 cheeses. (Forgive me Rachel it was SOOO YUMMY).
So, I am going to eeeeease into this. For Sunday dinner today I am made a really colorful and flavorful Spinach salad. BUT.... I still made dessert(can you say PORTION CONTROL??)It is a favorite of mine called Blueberry Delight. I got this recipe from a friend in PA many years ago. I love to make it for picnics and it is my 4th of July dessert because to me it looks so so so ...I don't know, Patriotic I guess. I have made some changes to try to cut the calories a little. The taste was still great but it made it a little unstable and did not set up as well so the look when it is cut, suffers a little. The original recipe calls for an entire box of Powdered sugar which I cut to 1 cup. I substituted fat free cream cheese and light Whipped topping for the full fat versions. All in All I would call it a success! Like I have said before I am not a baker so I use store bought angel food cake. If you are feeling froggy you can bake your own, but why?
Here are the recipes. I hope you enjoy and please make comments. I need all the encouragement I can get.
Spinach Salad
2Tbs Sesame oil
1/4 cup Veg Oil
1/4 orange juice
1 Tbs dijon Mustard
2Tbs Red wine vinegar

Chicken breast (1 small per person) chopped into bite size pieces
Fresh Spinach washed and dried (use the bag its easy)
Mandrin oranges, drained
Fresh strawberries, quartered
Hard boiled Egg
Red Onion Finely chopped
slivered almonds
poppy seeds

Whisk first 5 ingredients together until emulsified. Place Chicken Breasts and about 1/4 cup of dressing into a ziplock bag and let marinate for about an hour. Drain Chicken. Place chicken in a skillet with a drizzle of oil(or non-stick spray) and cook through.
Arrange spinach, fruit,onion and eggs on plate and top with chicken. Drizzle with desired amount of remaining dressing. Sprinkle on Almonds and Poppy seeds.
For a quick version I also love the store bought Raspberry Vinegrette Dressing (fat free of course) and the store bought roasted chicken.

Blueberry Delight (slimmed down version)
1 pkg fat free Cream Cheese,room temp
16oz container Light whipped topping thawed
1 cup powdered sugar
2 (Bar type) Angelfood Cakes
1 10z can Blueberry Pie filling

For ease of cutting place the angel food cake in the freezer for a couple of hours (not required but you will thank me). With electric mixer mix Cream Cheese and powdered Sugar. Fold in Whipped topping and mix just until incorporated (don't over beat). Slice cake into 1inch slices and place half in a 9x13 inch pan. Spread 1/2 of the mixture over cake, place another layer of cake on top. Spread remaining mixture on top. Spoon on thepie filling evenly then carefully spread trying not to disturb cream cheese mixture below. Chill for 1 hr.

Note: This would make a beautiful trifle bowl. I would add a layer of pie filling in the middle, if you wanted red white and blue you could even use strawberry for one layer.

Saturday, May 20, 2006


Life has been a little hectic in my house lately so I have not posted anything new in awhile. In fact except for Lasanga for My friend SueEllen I have not really cooked anything of substance in a while either. My children have been living on left overs (the lasangna was good for a couple of meals), take out and frozen food. Between my job my, my son's job and my daughter's social life there really has not been one day this week that we have all been home. I feel like SUCH a bad Mother!
One of the things that has had me busy this week is National EMS week. Yesterday we had Nice Picnic of sorts. My co-workers Jessica and Jesus did the planning for this I just helped out with ordering the cake and setting up. In past years we always have the same thing, grilled hamburgers and hotdogs with the ususual suspects for side dishes. This year though we were lucky enough for a REAL treat. "Kinlaws" was kind enough to donate the food for us. Classic southern fare. BBQ, fried chicken, hushpuppies, green beans, corn on the cob. They also provided all of the paper products to go with it along with sending it in food service insulated box thingys(I am sure they have a name but I have no idea what it is). We were all quite impressed and greatly appreciate their contribution it was WAY more than expected! One of our co-workers, Vertel made a TON of Ribs! They were to die for! I am definitely going to ask her for her recipe and if she gives it to me I will post on them more later. The cake, I ordered from My friend Vince at "Parties To Go" he gave us a nice discount on an awesome cake. We opted for half Choc/chocolate pudding filling and half White/Strawberry filling. Though we had a lot of people, I have never been to an event where ALL of the cake is eaten. Especially where there is so much other food present. I saw no one taking the usual dainty slices (although dainty certainately would not describe this crowd anyway) and MANY people coming back for seconds and thirds. I will have to say that the cake was a definite success and a confirmation that Vince has something out of the ordinary going on. Just ask Rental provided us with the Bungee Run which was quite comical and had me flat on my back (literally) laughing hysterically. Its a HUGE blow up thing with 2 lanes. Each person is attached to the end by a bungeed harness. You then race as far as you can down the lane and try to place a block on a velcro pad. The object is to try to get your block farther than the other person. One you let the block go the Bungee cord WHIPS you back, hence the lying on your back an laughing hysterically. Once this happens ..Who won is irrelevant!They also provided the Toss and burst. This is an improved version of a dunk tank. On person sits under a basket which holds a balloon filled with water (although you could fill it with all sorts of disgusting stuff a la Double Dare) and you toss a ball at a target and if it hits then a spike breaks the balloon over the persons head. One of our supervisors, Calvin was a great sport and let us underlings take out our aggression on him. It took a couple of rounds to get the hang of it so someone had to "TEST" the target to make sure it was working properly(wink wink) After that he endured several more rounds of soaking. A slide show was another source of entertainment,it included candid shots of members of our service on an off duty. We are an odd lot and tend to stick together, often vacationing and celebrating life events , several are even married to other emergency service people and medical personnel. Geeze, you would think that we would want to get away from each other once in awhile. EMS tends to be a way of life for many of us and we are one big family with all the usual idiosyncrasies. We were also Lucky enough to get a visit from John from Oldies 96.5 who provided us with some great music. I think that a good time was had by all who attended, those who were off duty and came and stayed and those who dropped by in between calls to grab a quick bite before heading back out to provide the citizens of Fayettenam with Emergency Medical Care. Unfortunately, there were some who were just too busy "saving lives" to make it but that is the nature of the beast and missing out on life events (and meals) are something that we are used to because it does not matter if it's Christmas or an anniversary or EMS week, 911 doesn't close!

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Mary Mary Quite Contrary

Ok, so my name is not Mary and I really don't consider myself contrary(of course I am sure there are people who would argue this point.) But my garden is growing very well. I am a fairly new gardener and every time I plant something I cross my fingers and hope it will grow. This is my first year planting herbs and I really wanted to make sure that when I used them that I would still have plants so I planted a lot in each pot. Well ...They are already bursting out of their pots! This is a good thing BUT...Now I have to repot. Again this is a cross my fingers thing and hope I don't kill them. So this morning I repotted almost all of them. Basil and Cilantro are my two favorites so I planted them the thickest. I was able to make 2 good sized pots out of each of them. The rosemary is a beautiful plant and I put it in a bigger Pot. If my new deck ever gets built I am going to plant rosemary as bushes I have a friend who says you can't kill them (good choice for me) and they do well as bushes. The savory, which I planted just because it sounded good is growing very tall and lanky and I noticed its starting to get little purple flowers on it. I am not sure what to do with this particular herb that I seem to have an abundance of so if anyone has any ideas or recipes that use it please share them with me . The only thing that does not seem to be thriving is the sage. Its healthy looking but not getting much bigger. If I use more than a leaf or two of it I will not have much of a plant left. I am hoping all of my babies do well and I am not back to buy my herbs at the grocery store in a few weeks.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Key Lime Pie!!!!!!

Tomorrow is the 23rd annual Springfest at my church. This is a fundraiser we do each year. All of the proceeds benefit children in the local community. One of the things this money is used for is to buy glasses for children who would not otherwise be able to afford them. Last year we raised $16,000. This year our goal is $20,000. There is a GIGANTIC indoor yard sale , an auction, a plant sale, and bakesale. This year there is a silent art auction and we will be raffling off a beautiful handmade quilt and a computer. The yardsale is from 7-10am. The Raffle drawings and Auction are at 930am. Please join us at Westminster Presbyterian Church @ 2505 Village Dr. Fayetteville NC. Located at the corner of Villiage and Purdue Dr. So, this will be my contribution to the bake sale. This is a recipe that I orginally got from Southern Living 2004 As usual I have tweaked it a bit by adding grated lime zest. This seems like a little thing but it really takes the flavor up a notch. The oils in the zest are a much more intense flavor than the juice alone. It is totally simple and can be whipped up in about 15 mins. The longest part is waiting for it to cool. As I have said before, I am not a baker but this one is simple enough even for me. Ingredients: 3 large Egg yolks, 1/2 cup lime juice, Pinch of salt 1 14-oz can of sweetened condensed milk, 1/4 tsp of vanilla, 10 individual or 1 whole graham cracker crust.
Place egg yolks in a large mixing bowl and wisk well. Grate zest of 1 lime into eggs. Roll limes around on counter then place in microwave for about 20 seconds. This will help them to release more juice. Squeeze lime juice into measuring cup. Squeeze 3-4 limes until you get 1/2 cup of lime juice. Wisk lime juice into eggs. Add Sweetened condensed milk,vanilla and salt and wisk well Pour mixture into crusts Bake for 15 mins at 350 degrees. Let pies cool to room temperature and the refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Right before serving Place a dollop of whipped cream on Pie and garnish with lime slice. * Notes: When you cut limes in half after microwaving, CLOSE YOUR EYES!! Lime juice REALLY HURTS when it squirts in your eyes. It also makes the kitchen floor very sticky. Have I mentioned that I am a very messy cook????

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Thai'd to Cook

Yesterday afternoon I woke up (no not being lazy, worked night shift) hungry! I was in the mood to cook something yummy but not too time consuming. I went to my favorite web site "Food Network". Checked out Rachels latest...ehh nothing piqued my tastebuds there. Then I remembered I saw an episode of Food 911 that they did some Asian dishes. Suddenly I am thinking ...Peanuts, sesame....yum! So I quick printed off his recipe for Cold sesame noodles and took off to the store. Now I live about 1 min from a local chain grocery store (oh yeah the ONLY chain grocery stores in town). I won't mention the name but it sounds like "mood cryin". I am thinkin ok this should just take minute. But MOOD CRYIN didn't have chili paste OR soba noodles. Those were the ONLY 2 things I NEEDED!!! So, I leave there and think ...Well darn (that's not really what I thought but I don't want to offend anyone) So, there is a small Chinese restaurant next to Mood Cryin. I walk in and look at the menu. The closest thing I can find is Lo mien...not really what I am in the mood for. So I turn and walk out disgusted "YOU NO ORDER ???" I hear as I walk out the door. No, sorry ..not today. As I walk to the car I say to my self "Self,why didn't you just drive the extra 15 mins to your favorite store" (I won't mention the name but it sounds like Paris Neater).
"Because its farther away and a little more expensive self"
"But everytime you do that you end up spending more time because you end up going to Paris Neater ANYWAY!"
"SHUT UP self!"
So I head toward Paris Neater. I make it to Hope Mills Rd and self says "hmmm, Asian Express is just a mile down this road ..Its still several miles to Paris Neater and then you have to drive back home and cook it. Mmm that Pang Gai...Is some yummy stuff ..You haven't had that in awhile."
"Yeah, but the Kids won't eat Panang Gai"
"They have Chinese too ..They have Sesame Chicken ..Kristen loves Sesame Chicken and remember they have the most Awesomest spring rolls in town"
"self , there is no such word as awesomest"
" I know you are but what am I??"
"I am not talking to you anymore self"
Alas, I had talked myself into it ..Or my Self had talked me into it ...Or something, anyway. So, it was Panang Gai for me. I opted for the Orange Chicken for the kids, get them to expand their horizons a little. I was hoping for some seaweed salad like I had tried at the sushi bar last week but they didn't have anything like that and no sesame noodles. Ok believe it or not I have never tried Pad Thai. I know, I know that's like the first Thai dish most people try. It just did not look that good to me. BUT ...It had the peanuts I was craving so I ordered it. No spice so maybe the kids would try it (darn kids). 30 mins later I am on my way home ...Dinner cooked, no dishes to do.
Perfectly crispy spring rolls, Panang Gai creamy just the right amount of heat, yummy as usual. Orange chicken was tasty ..Not a big difference from the sesame chicken (go figure) and the Pad Thai? (The kids being the picky eaters they are refused ..Ugh I could have had it spicy!!) I can't believe I waited so long to try it!! Finally Peanuts MMM MMM Good!